Facebook Is Bringing Interoperable Chats To Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp

Photo: Maurizio Pesce

People will soon be able to chat across Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed the upcoming feature at the F8 2019 Developer conference saying that it is expected to make communicating across the platforms easier. The cross-platform chats are expected to have video chats, picture and video sharing and other features that are already available on Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger separately.

One thing Facebook fails to realize is that people have different personalities for different social platforms. When I had a Facebook page, it was solely to keep extended family members and high school friends in the loop. I hardly ever got on and I only posted major life events.

Instagram is a totally different experience for me. Instagram is where I post more creative content, ideas, affirmations and things that inspire me. WhatsApp wasn’t even on my phone until I started NYU and needed a way to chat with my classmates about assignments.

“We believe people should be able to talk to anyone anywhere,” Messenger’s head of consumer product Asha Sharma said to a crowd during the F8 conference. Sharma emphasized Facebook’s move to interoperability across its properties that would include encryptions, chat tools and other features.  

Having my worlds of social media collide is not ideal, but I can see how the upcoming feature would connect generations of online users. For me, it would feel like an intrusion to have someone that I’m exclusively friends with on Facebook contact me on Instagram or WhatsApp and vice versa.

One good thing about the Messenger-Instagram-WhatsApp is that it will be end-to-end encrypted. Facebook highlighted that encryption would be expanded out to all platforms in private messages, noting its new dedication to protecting users’ privacy.

The announcement does not come as a surprise. Facebook has increasingly been developing cookie cutter features like chats and direct-from-post shopping, throughout its properties. Instagram built out its direct messaging tools to include video calls, an unsend feature and more.

Facebook did not announce when the integrated chat feature would be released, so it could be some time before users can chat across the platforms. As Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp continue to mirror each others’ features and integrate more, we may be able to expect full-blown super social network in the years to come.